Vetting Resources

These guideslines are opinions, formed and based in part on criteria used by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) and other similar organizations, animal welfare groups including the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCAS), and our own experiences and beliefs held by Black Pine Animal Sanctuary.

A true “sanctuary” is a place that:

  • Provides lifetime care to animals that have suffered abuse, neglect, been confiscated, abandoned, orphaned or otherwise became displaced, and are unsuitable for release to the wild

  • Does not buy, sell, breed, trade, or seek out animals;

  • Does not engage in commercial activity with or involving animals;

  • Does not engage in commercial trade or sale of animals or animal by-products;

  • Does not engage in direct (unprotected) contact with dangerous animals, nor allow visitors to engage in direct contact with non-domestic animals.

Facility Vetting Resources & Recommendations:

Explore facility website(s) to identify possible “red flags”:

  • Photos that depict any public handling of non-domestic animals or staff members engaged in direct contact with dangerous animals;

  • Indications of breeding policies; some conservation organizations may participate in bonafine conservation breeding programs. Breeding is generally not associated with a true sanctuary.

  • Animals for sale, or animal by-products for sale.

  • Verification or Accreditation by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), or American Sanctuary Association (ASA). These apply to sanctuaries.

  • Accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the most widely respected accreditation for zoos.

  • Accreditation by the United States Zoological Association (USZA) is largely associated with commercial, for-profit animal exploiters who developed an organization to self-accredit.

  • Accreditation by the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) is often associated with back-yard breeders and owners who support “free contact” with potentially dangerous animals. Most fall short of AZA accrediting standards.

  • Sanctuaries and other rescue organizations are typically recognized by the IRS as 501(c)3 non-profits and are tax exempt as a means of supporting charitable work. Most successful (sustainable) non-profits seek to provide transparency to potential funders, and may be recognized by for best practices, a key to long-term sustainability.

  • Much like, more mature non-profit animal welfare organizations may invest time into creating a presence at Testimonials may also be viewed at this site.

  • Additional testimonials from members of the public can be useful. Explore,, Google, Facebook, and other online travel and social media sites for feedback from others. The animal welfare community generally will speak out “against” facilities they do not support and will share allegations of what they consider irresponsible.

  • If you don’t see evidence to answer questions you have, reach out and ask. Any evasion to answer legitimate animal welfare-related questions may indicate something to hide.

  • Use USDA/APHIS online search at to view past facility inspection reports. If a facility is open to the public and houses warm-blooded mammals, they, by law, must hold a valid USDA Class “C” Exhibitor license.  (Note: Having a USDA license is not an indication of quality of care or business practices.)

PARC, Inc.

Black Pine Animal Sanctuary
1426 W. 300 N.
P.O. Box 02
Albion, IN 46701
(260) 636-7383

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We do not buy, sell, breed, trade, or use animals for commercial purposes.

Named one of the "Best Tiger Sanctuaries in the U.S."

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